Because we'll never be accused here at SCH of having a narrow minded view of things, let's take a look at how the other series across the league are shaping out. More after the jump.
- (1) Washington Capitals vs. (8) Montreal Canadiens - (Tied 1-1) What many people thought would be a walk for the league leading Caps has been anything but. Game 1 saw the Habs hold Ovie shotless, and game two required a furious three goal comeback from Washington to win in overtime. The overlooked goalie controversy while everyone was yammering about the Hawks' situation has come to the forefront, and Jose "Rogaine" Theodore has been replaced by Semyon Varlamov. Additionally, Mike Green has resumed his usual April disappearing act in his own zone, which is even more stark that it is in the regular season. The Capitals seem more concerned with yapping at the Habs in the press than shoring up their own issues, which seems to indicate that they'll get out of this round on talent alone, but not much further.
- (2) New Jersey Devils vs. (7) Philadelphia Flyers - (Flyers lead 2-1) - In what's becoming yet another annual tradition, the Devils trail to a lower seeded opponent in the series. Mike Richards has been playing like the Tazmanian Devil, and the Flyers physical style has dictated the play thus far and frustrated the Devils. Fatso has played fairly well, but his teammates have hung him out to dry, as Ilya Kovalchuk seems more concerned with clawing at Richards. Richards' running mate Jeff Carter has done fuck-all, but he's battling a foot injury he likely returned early from. This series is still a toss up, but how far does anyone really expect Brian Boucher to take the Broad St. denizens?
- (3) Buffalo Sabres vs. (6) Boston Bruins - (Tied 1-1) - The best goalie matchup in the opening round has lived up to its billing to this point, with the teams trading wins. Additionally, the matchup of opposing Ent-like defensemen Zdeno Chara and rookie badass Tyler Myers has been a thing to watch. Tomas Vanek appears to be out fairly long term after taking a slash on Saturday, which drastically hurts Buffalo's chances as a dark horse should Miller recreate his Olympic magic. Goals are going to be extremely tough to come by in this series, and figures to go the distance. If Marc Savard comes back in time, that will obviously be a huge lift for the B's.
- (4) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (5) Ottawa Senators - (Pens lead 2-1) - We may as well just call this series "Sid Freaks The Fuck Off", as he's already got 7 points in 3 games, and has factored in pretty much every Pittsburgh goal. Ottawa exploited an out-to-lunch Marc-Andre Fleury to grab game one, but haven't been able to keep up with the Pens since. Pittsburgh should emerge from this series provided that MAF doesn't fill his diaper again, but questions remain for the later rounds regarding their blueline depth with no Rob Scuderi and no Hal Gill providing the sandpaper this year.
- (1) San Jose Sharks vs. (8) Colorado Avalanche - ('Lanche lead 2-1) - The hits just keep on coming for San Jose, don't they? After looking lethargic and dropping game 1 in the final minute to the too-young, too-stupid, too-fast Avs, Evegeni Nabokov did his best to recreate his Olympic performance in Game 2...but that's not a good thing. The Avs potted 5 goals on 17 shots, and the Sharks needed a last minute goal with the goalie pulled and an OT strike from Devin Setoguchi to come out on top. Then in game three, Park Ridge's finest (no, NOT Mike North), Craig Anderson, stonewalled the Dany Heatly-less Sharks, turning aside all 51 shots he saw as the game went into OT with bagels on the board. As if that wasn't hilarious enough, Dan Boyle Steve Smith-ed Nabby and put the puck in his own net for the decider. It really does seem that it's all between the ears for the Fins. But who knows, they could get their shit together, right? Right? Is this thing on?
- (3) Vancouver Canucks vs. (6) Los Angeles Kings - (Tied 1-1) - This is shaping up to be the most entertaining series of the opening round, as each of the first two games have gone to OT, and both teams like to push the pace. Mikael "Go Fuck Themselves" Samuelsson grabbed two, including the game-winner in game one, and Anze Kopitar won the game for the Kings (and a beer for Sam) in the extra frame of game 2. Drew Doughty has been a grown ass man for a sneaky-stacked Kings team, and the Canucks remain a highly skilled bunch of twats that we're all quite familiar with here in Blackhawks Nation. Questions still remain about the Nucks' blue line without Willie Mitchell, as well as Bob-O's ability to step up and take command of a series. This is another series that figures to go the distance, stay up late for it.
- (4) Phoenix Coyotes vs. (5) Scum - ('Yotes lead 2-1) - The over-achieving never ceases with these Coyotes. Most pundits expected Scum to waltz right in and regain playoff form and put the Coyotes in their rightful place as also-rans. Yeah, not so much so far. Phoenix is clearly giving Detroit more than they can handle, and that's even without franchise bedrock and captain Shane Doan for the majority of game three, where the Yotes barely allowed Scum a sniff. That game also saw the once invincible Nicklas Lidstrom beaten badly on Phoenix's final two goals, and saddled with a minus-3. And again, while everyone just assumed Jimmy Howard would be spectacular in the playoffs while the questions kept coming regarding the Hawks, Howard has been less than spectacular- though he's been hung out to dry on more than a few occasions. Phoenix appears to have more energy in this series, and could very well prove the doubters wrong once again.